www.PowerEngineeringInt.com 21 Power Engineering International June 2017
GE’s Gas Power Systems and Steam Power Systems talk about trends in gas and
steam turbines and how they are seeing technologies and markets develop
of the turbine
In today’s world 1. 2 billion people still don’t
have access to electricity and 2. 4 billion
people in the world don’t have access to
What exactly is required to meet this need
varies country by country, but what we know
is that an energy mix is required. This includes
gas, coal, renewables and nuclear.
We asked GE Power’s Gas Power Systems
and Steam Power Systems to talk to us about
trends in both markets.
Q: What are the latest trends you are seeing
in the industry?
A: Gas Power Systems: In the gas business,
we are focusing on two main areas – effciency
and enhancing our plants’ digital capabilities.
Digital is the single biggest disruptor and
opportunity in the entire power space. Digital
starts with data, and the power industry has
more data than any other industry in the
world, but only 2 per cent of the data is being
used today. That’s the opportunity as it relates
to higher generator reliability and proftability.
Effciency is an area where we continue to
invest signifcantly. Last year, our frst 9HA power
plant achieved the world record combined-cycle effciency of 62.22 per cent – and that’s
net effciency. But we aren’t standing still. The
team is on a path to achieve 65 per cent
combined-cycle effciency with HA systems,
and we’re already offering customers new
HA technology that can deliver greater than
63 per cent effciency.
One fundamental shift you’ll continue to
see from our business is evolving from a heavy-duty gas turbine business to a power island
business along with strategic turnkey projects.
A: Steam Power Systems: When it comes to
steam technology, customers are driven by
low operating costs and long-term stability.
The price levels for main fuels (coal, lignite,
HFO) are relatively stable, which is why more
and more countries want to introduce steam
plants in their mix. The trend in the last year has
clearly been towards higher effciency plants,
supercritical, ultra-supercritical (USC) and
now advanced USC, and there is a variety of
reasons for that.
First, economic reasons – higher effciency
plants now have a better lifecycle cost
than older technologies. Secondly, the most
advanced technologies such as USC are now
proven and have demonstrated their capability
to operate reliably, with improved load fexibility.
Finally, due to the focus to reduce carbon
emissions, it is now becoming part of the ‘social
license to operate’ to use the lowest emitting
One of the key developments allowing
us to achieve record level effciencies are
new materials, for example nickel iron-based
alloys. They are easier for fabrication than just
nickel-based alloys and have excellent steam
oxidation and fue gas corrosion resistance. This
means that steam cycle conditions – pressure
and temperature – can increase, having a
positive impact on effciency. Interestingly, many
of these new innovations have originally been
developed in research labs with public funding
and they are now becoming commercial
products, helping to improve effciencies and
reliability, driving the cost of electricity down.
Another development that we are seeing
is the price of coal-fred power plants, which
has been going down in recent years. The
plant prices have reduced by about 10 per
cent since 2014 on average and by 25 per
cent since 2010, driven by lower engineering,
procurement and construction prices.
In addition to these trends, we are also
seeing an increased demand for smaller
steam power plants – especially in Asia Pacifc –
between 110 and 130 MW.
Bouchain 9HA combined-cycle plant